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House GOP's Parting Gift: A Lump of Coal for Campaign Season

“In fact, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity released an analysis this week highlighting the more than 200 coal-based electric generating units that are scheduled to be shut down due to, in part, regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency," Kelly said. "These coal closures are tantamount to shutting down the entire electricity supply of Ohio, costing jobs, raising prices, and moving our nation away from achieving energy independent."

Organizations supporting the package of five bills included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

"President Obama's war on coal is real.  The lost jobs are already happening and thousands more are at risk.  Americans' energy costs are already too high, and the war on coal will drive them higher," Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said on the House floor yesterday.

Today, Johnson called the passage "an important step forward in stopping one of President Obama's most economically destructive policies."

"The Stop the War on Coal Act is common sense legislation that protects coal jobs from these destructive regulations that have put the heavy boot of an out of control federal regulatory bureaucracy on the neck of the coal industry," he said.

In addition to Johnson's legislation, the other bills included in the package were Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton's (R-Mich.) Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from making rules on greenhouse gases to address climate change; Rep. John Sullivan's (R-Okla.) Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011, which would create a panel to do cost-benefit analyses on EPA regs; Rep. David McKinley's (R-W.Va.) Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act; and Rep. John Mica's (R-Fla.) Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, which would amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to let states make their own water quality determinations.

Reps. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Rick Berg (R-N.D.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), and James Lankford (R-Okla.) offered an amendment, which passed 228 to 183, that said states rather than the EPA ought to be the primary regulatory authorities with regional haze programs.

"The EPA has been superseding states’ authority and setting regional haze controls that cost millions to implement but actually do very little to improve air visibility,” said Flake. “States like Arizona ought to have primary regulatory authority when it comes to controlling regional haze. We’ve got to keep the EPA in check on this.”

The Stop the War on Coal Act will come to a stop in the Senate, which is unlikely to take it up in the lame-duck session. But even inaction lends to the Republicans' campaign-season message.

"House Republicans have passed several bills from our American Energy Initiative, and it’s past time for the Senate to join us in our efforts to expand domestic energy production and protect American jobs," said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas).